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Our Missing Hearts cover art

Our Missing Hearts

By: Celeste Ng
Narrated by: Celeste Ng,Lucy Liu
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Summary

From the number one best-selling author of Little Fires Everywhere, a deeply heart-wrenching novel about the unbreakable love between a mother and child in a society consumed by fear.

Read by award-winning actress Lucy Liu, with an author's note read by Celeste Ng.

Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in Harvard's library. He knows not to ask too many questions, stand out too much, stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve 'American culture' in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic—including the work of Bird's mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old.

Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn't know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn't wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is drawn into a quest to find her.

His journey will take him through the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken and finally to New York, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change.

Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilised communities can turn a blind eye to the most searing injustice. It's a story about the power—and limitations—of art to create change in the world, the lessons and legacies we pass onto our children and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact.

©2022 Celeste Ng (P)2022 Hachette Audio UK

What listeners say about Our Missing Hearts

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Sad listen

I didn’t really enjoy this book, I just had to finish what I’d started listening to hoping for it to pick up

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Gripping, challenging and hauntingly close to truth.

Loved this story - everyone should read it. Gripping, challenging and hauntingly close to many real life experiences of Asian Americans and other non-white minorities in the USA.

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Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

The best thing I have listened to for at least a couple of years. The book/story is incredible and Lucy Liu reads it with such compassion. I've recommended it to my book club (who all loved it) and bought it for several friends for Christmas. Listen; you won't be disappointed.

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Beautifully narrated

I thought the narration of this book was wonderful, however for me, the story lost momentum in the second half.

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Loved this

I just loved this book. The story telling, the themes, the relevance to today’s stories and past stories really touched me on so many levels.
I am adopted (born in the early 60s Mum not married)and so also a missing heart.

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Beautiful

Thank you for this great work.
Mind expansive and the language was so beautifully descriptive. No superfluous words, all carefully put together to help me
Fo

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Eerie beautiful and Worrying

Why does the world turn to hate when trying to manipulate people and what happens when you can no longer stop conforming.

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Unquestionably

Everything about this book is important, it should be prescribed and consumed by everyone.
Beautifully read and written, moving and terrifying

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Poignant

The writing in this book is rich with imagery, one that is light, hopeful and cocooned and the other bleak, dark, also cocooned for the wrong reasons. It especially relevant for the current times where the world spiralling into an extreme form of financial natural selection is a very real possibility,

It feels like a prologue or an epilogue to “school for good mothers”, which is another phenomenal read.

The themes in this book touch upon Elena Ferrante’s concepts of motherhood, where the intractable love for your child and filial connection surpasses your pre-mother identity, and the inevitable unbearable guilt that comes when one shifts the balance to BC (before child) while navigating the AC responsibilities.

Fantastic book, set in a post apocalyptic setting which is not entirely fantasy but a real glimpse of what life as we know it could be.

Bravo!

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Beautiful and thought-provoking

Celeste Ng's prose is so precise, economical and beautiful. A heart-wrenching book that also serves as a wake-up call. I loved Lucy Liu's understated yet emotional narration. A gorgeous book.

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  • Lenore
  • 31-10-22

So painful

Ugh, this book was awful. I initially thought it was the narration, which was truly horrendous. And I love Lucy Liu, but the big screen is her lane. She did not invoke any feelings of what the characters were trying to portray. In one ‘scene’, I thought the dad was about to cry, turns out he was actually mad as hell. That feeling did not make it off the page.
The story is so weak. I actually didn’t understand most of it. Zero character development and no real connection created for the reader. Haven’t read her other books but I’ve been told they’re amazing, hence this pick. Would sadly not recommend this book.